The Episcopal Church recognizes seven sacraments. The two "great sacraments of the Gospel" are Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. The other sacraments are Confirmation, Reconciliation, Holy Matrimony, Ordination and the Sacrament of Healing. These sacraments are means of grace, but they differ from Baptism and the Eucharist in that they are not necessary for all persons in the same way Baptism and the Eucharist are. In addition to having liturgies for these sacraments, the Episcopal Church also has a liturgy for burial. All of these sacramental rites, the burial liturgy and many other prayers and liturgies are included in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.
St John's Episcopal Church
159 Main Street
Sandwich, MA 02563
Phone: (508) 888-2828
Parish Office Hours:
Tuesday thru Friday
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
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Holy Baptism is a public statement of one’s decision to follow the way of
Jesus. In the case of infant baptism, it is the parents’ declaration of their intent
to raise a child in the way of Jesus. For infants or children who cannot understand the promise to follow Jesus, we ask parents and sponsors (also known as godparents) to make these promises as well. This will prepare the child for the time when they can assume responsibility for the promises made on their behalf at Baptism. This happens through the sacrament of Confirmation.
When you choose to have your child baptized or be baptized yourself, it means that you are choosing to live out the Baptismal Covenent in the Episcopal Church community by taking part in the worship, ministries, and mission of the parish.
Baptism is open to all people, regardless of age or background. If you feel called to be baptized, or to have your child baptized at St John's, please contact the Parish Office.
The Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the main liturgical worship of the Episcopal Church. It is celebrated at Saturday and Sunday services, including baptisms, and is also often part of weddings and funerals.
“Eucharist” means “thanksgiving" in Greek and is when we gather to hear the Word of God as revealed in Scripture, and to receive the presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine, the Body and Blood of our Lord.
All persons of any age are invited to receive Holy Communion. The Episcopal Church does not have a formal First Communion observance and children who have been baptized are welcome to receive Communion at their parents’ discretion. Once you have decided that your child is ready to receive communion, St John's will select a service date where your family can receive together in the presence of family and friends.
If you do not want to receive Communion, you may come to the altar rail to receive a blessing from the priest. Please place your arms across your chest in the form of an “X” to indicate that you would like to receive a blessing.
While Baptism is the sacrament by which we become members of the Church, Confirmation is the rite in which we express "a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop." (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857) It completes the initiation rite that began at baptism by transferring responsibility for the promises made at baptism from the sponsors to the one being confirmed.
One can be confirmed whenever he or she is ready to accept that responsibility and this usually happens during adolescence. The preferred minimum age to be confirmed is 15 -16 years old. At St John's, Confirmation classes prepare the confirmands for this rite and for living as an adult Christian. Classes start in September and Confirmation is usually held in May each year. If you have a call to be confirmed or if your child is ready for confirmation, please contact the Parish Office for more information.
The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is an expression of Christian community
in which a couple makes their vows before God and the Church, and the priest blesses the marriage on behalf of the Church. Simply stated, the purpose of marriage is to give life and love to the world. A married couple, by the way they fulfill their marriage vows, will love, honor and nurture each other. The relationship is an example for others of what it means to be loving and faithful to another human being.
Episcopal Wedding Vows
"______, wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wedded wife/husband to live together after God's ordinance in the Holy Estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her/him? Comfort her/him, honor and keep her/him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all other keep thee only unto her/him as long as you both shall live?"
"In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow."
Marriages are not traditionally celebrated in Advent and in Lent because these are
penitential seasons during which times festive liturgies, such as weddings, are not
If you would like to get married at St John's, it is important to meet with the Rector to discuss your circumstances. You can also download our Wedding brochure or call the Parish Office for additional information.
Burial of the dead, although not a sacrament, is a time to utilize the pastoral and liturgical ministry of the Church. According to the Book of Common Prayer, the liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds its meaning in the resurrection. The Prayer Book also reminds us that "the very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death."
The clergy at St John's is prepared to engage in the planning of funerals or memorial services. Please do not hesitate to contact the clergy at the news of the death of a loved one.
Within the church, to the right of the altar, and behind locked wooden doors is the church Columbarium where the ashes of the dead, encased in urns, may be put as a final resting place. Space is available in the Columbarium; please contact the Parish Office for more information.